Getting back in the lunchbox habit

School holidays are a great time to forget about the daily habit of packing healthy lunchboxes for our kids. It can be challenging to come up with food ideas which are likely to be eaten and also support kids’ dental health. This is why at the start of this year, we have done some of the hard work to help you ease back into the school year.

Making tooth-friendly choices

  • Aim for foods which aren’t acidic, sweet or sticky. Foods which tend to hang around in the mouth and stick to the teeth increase the risk of decay.
  • Aim for crunchy foods which require some chewing. These help to support oral development, there is also less risk of food particles sticking to tooth enamel.

10 days of lunchbox ideas to support kids’ dental

  1. Cut up celery, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower or carrot sticks to dip into hummus or peanut butter.
  2. Yoghurt or cheese on crackers. Freeze yoghurt so it’s still cold by lunchtime.
  3. Fruit, especially bananas, apples, pears and stone fruits. Cut fruit up if it’s going to be difficult to eat and pack a plastic fork.
  4. Wholegrain sandwiches, cracker style biscuits or oat cakes with a healthy filling. Meat, egg, chicken, cheese and salad ingredients are ideal. Vegemite and nut pastes are other options. You may want to cut the sandwich into fun shapes with biscuit cutters.
  5. Cook your own versions of healthy bars using rolled oats, (small amounts) of dried fruits, coconut, egg and milk. Avoid packaged muesli or other ‘snack’ style bars which are often high in sugar.
  6. Salads made with noodles, rice or pasta and cut up vegetables and grated cheese.
  7. Savoury muffins made with bacon and vegetables including corn, peas, carrot and zucchini.
  8. Individual frittatas made with eggs, milk, cheese and vegetables.
  9. Homemade pizza on a wholemeal base with tomato, cheese and meat toppings.
  10. Healthy leftovers from dinner the night before. Cook a little extra if it’s suitable for lunchbox storage.

Support your kids dental health by;

  • Pack a cold brick or frozen water bottle in your child’s insulated lunch bag.
  • Check if your child’s school has a ‘no nuts’ policy which includes nut pastes.
  • Involve your child in preparing and packing their own lunch. Use this time as an opportunity to guide them towards healthy eating.
  • Pack your own healthy lunchbox and role model which foods support good oral health.
  • Encourage your child to drink water between meals. Check with your local council to confirm if your water supply is fluoridated; if not, speak with your dentist about the benefits of fluoride supplements.
  • Try not to pack too much food in their lunchbox. Kids can feel overwhelmed by large servings and feel they need to eat everything.
  • Check with the school to find out their policy on chewing gum and if it’s allowed. Chewing gum after meals helps to boost saliva flow, neutralise acids and wash away food particles.

Speak with your dentist and dental hygienist for other tooth friendly food ideas. Book an appointment today for yourself and your child, to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Remember, your child’s first teeth are important and form a template for how and where their permanent teeth will be positioned. Care well for them and your child is less likely to have problems during childhood and when they’re adults. Your child may also be eligible for free* Kids Dental under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), so check their eligibility and book an appointment.

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